For my birthday this year, my family and I decided that this is the year to go on a trip. Normally I would get together with my friends and have a dinner, go in the pool, party all night long with the works. (My version of a party, which would mean playing literary "Who Am I?" until we get tired of eating cake and pass out.) But this year... This year I was going to go on a trip and make the most of this birthday.
I wanted to go to the top three largest libraries in America. The Library of Congress, The New York Public Library and The Boston Public Library. Crazy right? Don't party TOO hard.
I was going to do it! Go along the coast, celebrate my birthday with our "out of state" friends and go on a literature tour. It was going to be AWESOME.
On the 25th of July, we left for Washington DC and stayed with a friend who (thankfully!) only lives a few blocks away from the DC Mall. On my birthday I woke up, brushed my teeth and said "I'm ready, let's go check out The Library of Congress!" And we sure did!
It was GORGEOUS. The architecture and artwork were beyond breathtaking. Everywhere you looked there were murals and paintings that you just had to snap a picture of! If you're a fan of literature, or even not, this is something you have to see before you die.
After we left DC, we made our way to Long Island, New York- where my mom was born and grew up. We visited with some old friends and The Patchogue-Medford Public Library, an added request of mine. I wanted to go there not only because it's a cute and unique library located on Main Street, but also because it was where my mom spent her childhood. She visited every week. (Almost every day!)
Not to mention there was a cafe across the street with its own little library!
And while touring Port Jefferson on Long Island, I found this...
A small branch of the Port Jefferson Free Library, which is a hang out/library for teens, plus book shop. It was AMAZING.
When leaving Long Island, we met up with a friend who told us about a book store going out of business... And this is what happened:
I kind of went crazy... ;-)
Next stop: New York City!!!
We stayed in Queens, took daily walks down Queens Boulevard and ventured (one day) into the crazy city to see the New York Public Library. When I say "It's my favorite library in the world." I mean IT'S MY FAVORITE LIBRARY IN THE WORLD. This library could not get any more gorgeous.
I guess you could say that I fell in love with it.
Besides almost plummeting to my death (I wore flip flops and almost slipped on the wet, marble stairs, falling down to the busy street below...) it was my favorite experience of New York City. I even got lost in the endless hallways and made friends. This is one place I did not mind getting lost in.
After our venture into the city, we decided to lay low until we had to leave (the accessibility for the city was not very... accessible.).
The day we left, my dad said that he wanted to take a look at the Freedom Tower and (after hearing about it from a friend...) I said I wanted to check out The Strand, if they were open. The Strand is a bookstore in the city, that's (no joke) 18 MILES FULL OF BOOKS. Oh yeah, I was so going there.
So after we saw the Freedom Tower...
...We went to The Strand.
Yeah, I kind of fell in love with that too.
There I found a British, First Edition, out of print copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and an autographed copy of Eragon. I happily spent $80 there. And I got lost, AGAIN.
If you've read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, you'll understand my analogy of comparing The Strand to the Lotus Casino. One and a half hours without even realizing it!
So two hours later and $100 less rich (HA-HA), we were on our way to Massachusetts!
There we stayed with a friend who (once we got settled in our rooms and chilled for a bit) took us to Harvard Square and Boston! In Harvard Square, we stopped at The Harvard "Coop" and shopped. Again.
The Harvard "Coop" made me envious of Harvard students. I told my mom that I would enroll at Harvard just for the library and bookstores!
Oh, and speaking of which...
When I said "the top three largest libraries in America" I meant the ones that were open to the public. Technically the Harvard Library is one of the top three largest libraries in America, BUT it's not open to the public. But surprise, surprise, I got to at least SEE the Harvard Library! (I was pretty giddy.)
Next stop: The Boston Public Library!
There, we had the nicest security guards help us out and show us around the library! It was gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. Very welcoming and friendly, like a place you'd want to hang out for hours and hours. (I almost did!)
When we were staying in Massachusetts, our friend took us to Plymouth to see the Plimoth Plantation, a living recreation of history. I was skeptical at first, but I have to say that it was actually pretty cool!
After Plimoth Plantation, our other friend showed us around town and took us to see Plymouth Rock (just a drive by to say, "There it is!") and another amazing book store that stole more money out of my wallet.
I LOVED Massachusetts! It was so beautiful and cool, even for the Summer! But it was time to say goodbye for now... Even though I didn't want to leave, my cats and books were still at home and it was time to start making our way back.
On our way back home, we made a quick detour through Philadelphia, PA...
Saw the Philadelphia Free Public Library...
...And I just HAD to see the Walt Whitman Bridge.
Making a quick shout out to my fellow Cupcakes and Babes! <3
But before we come home... There was one more thing to do.
Go to Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey!!! We're huge fans of Kevin Smith and Comic Book Men, so we figured we couldn't get this close to NJ without stopping in.
Not only were they filming for Comic Book Men when we got there, but the actual Comic Book Men were STILL THERE, just hanging out!
Oh, and we couldn't go to the Secret Stash without going to the Quick Stop and RST Video. (From Kevin Smith's Clerks.)
That's the conclusion of my trip! I was lucky enough to come home to a mailbox full of birthday cards and presents (mostly books), only adding more amazingness to my birthday trip.
This was, by far, THE best birthday I've ever had and I want to thank everyone who was a part of it, for making it that amazing. Thank you also, to my readers who have taken the time to read this! I love you all and I hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy Reading!!